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150Th Anniversary - Piano Works

150Th Anniversary - Piano Works

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As pianist Andrei Hoteev puts it, Vladimir Sofronitzki's interpretations included an "improvisatory style", which corresponds with what musicologist Sigfried Schibli has noted as a characteristic of Scriabin's own playing, going on to say Scriabin "developed his own style of playing the piano" with "alertly varied rhythms and dynamics...combined with a delicate touch and spontaneous agogics." Indeed, Sofronitzki's Scriabin performances have often been praised for their idiomatic, "poetic" rubato together with a flair for musical architecture and rhythmic precision. In his desire for fidelity to the original, Sofronitzki's highly sensitive use of the pedal reflects his striving to abide by the composer's expressive markings as closely as possible. His affinity with Scriabin's oeuvre may derive from the fact that both the composer and the pianist himself were influenced by the music of Frédéric Chopin. Having spent his childhood in Warsaw, where his family had settled when he was two years old, Sofronitzki came to be regarded as setting new standards for Chopin interpretation - an artistic focus that goes back to his first piano tuition in the Polish capital. In 1949, the centenary of Chopin's death, Sofronitzki performed all his piano works on five successive days at the great hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.


The flow of melody and the highest transparency of musical events were top priorities for Vladimir Sofronitzky, whom Emil Gilels called the greatest piano player in the world and of whom the famous Heinrich Neuhaus said, « He plays like a god and looks like a god. » Let’s look closely at these two statements: Gilels speaks of the piano player not of the pianist. Consciously or unconsciously? And Neuhaus speaks of the god. God, is that power? Mightiness? Because Sofronitzky’s playing is powerful. It is dramatic and sonorous. This is Sofronitzky’s individualism: his feelings are those of sovereignty, of control. Poetry and tenderness are not his thing. And so the recordings of this edition impress me more than they touch me.

However, those who are intoxicated by consummate piano technique will be happy with this. In addition to the Etudes, Mazurkas, Preludes, Impromptus, Nocturnes and Poèmes, this box includes the legendary near-complete recording of the piano sonatas with Vladimir Sofronitzky. Only the first three movements of the 1st Sonata and the 9th Sonata, which the pianist never recorded out of respect for Scriabin, are missing and replaced by recordings by other pianists. Sofronitzky’s interpretations are phenomenal: he literally chisels the music into sculptures, relentless, accented, yet often very restrained and labored for nuance. Nevertheless, it is the enormously powerful playing that dominates and captivates the listener[.]

-- Pizzicato

These are historical recordings from 1946 to 1962, played primarily by Sofronitski; all the others are listed as guests. Profil celebrates Scriabin’s 150th birthday with a nearly complete collection of his solo piano works. This remastered collection has cleaned things up to today’s standards.

"Historical Recordings 1946-1962" is correct for all the recordings here except Scriabin’s tracks. There is not a bad performance in this collection. A few choices were made that I didn’t agree with, but, by and large, this is spectacular Scriabin...I was amazed at the musical concentration Sofronitsky summoned to play such beautifully shaped phrases on such an instrument. Anyone who enjoys Scriabin’s piano music will find exceptional performances on each disc here.

-- American Record Guide

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 12
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Profil
    • UPC/Barcode: 881488220063
    • Item Number: PH22006